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What's So Unique About Meyer Lemons?

What’s the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?

Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by The Kitchn

If you are looking into container gardening or growing your own fruit trees in your yard, have you considered a lemon tree? Lemon trees are easy to grow in the Earth or in a pot, and they provide beautiful bright yellow fruit that you can use for a variety of baked goods, cocktails, cleaning solutions and so much more.

When picking a lemon tree, you'll want to know a little bit about the different kinds of lemons first. There's your traditional lemon, and then there's the Meyer lemon. Kelli Foster from The Kitchn explains the difference between the two in What’s the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?

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Regular Lemons

When we talk about regular or common lemons, we’re usually referring to Eureka or Lisbon lemons. These are the two most common lemon varieties found in the produce section.

  • Appearance – Compared to their Meyer counterparts, regular lemons are noticeably larger in size, with thick, textured, bright, sunny skin, and medium yellow pulp.
  • Taste – There’s a reason most of us don’t eat them out of hand — regular lemons are highly acidic. They’re moderately sweet, but known for a tang that will make your mouth pucker.
  • Availability – While there are certain times of year that trees will bear more fruit, regular lemons know no season. You’ll find them readily available in the produce section all year long.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemons, on the other hand, were first introduced to the United States from China in the early 20th century by Frank Meyer, from whom they also got their name. This sweet winter citrus is thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. And that’s what really sets it apart.

  • Appearance – Meyer lemons are smaller and more round than regular lemons, with smoother, thin, deep yellow to orange skin, and dark yellow pulp. The differences are very distinct, especially when you see both varieties side by side.
  • Taste – While they’re moderately acidic, Meyer lemons don’t have the same tang as regular lemons. Instead, they’re much sweeter — so much so that some people enjoy adding the raw segments to their salads or desserts. Their rinds also have a more complex scent than regular lemons — a spicy bergamot fragrance that tastes and smells more like an herb or a spice.
  • Availability – While regular lemons are readily available all year long, Meyer lemons are more seasonal. Your best bet for finding them is from December through May.

READ MORE: What’s the Difference Between Meyer Lemons and Regular Lemons?